Category Archives: Performance

Tour Guides: Take a Tour of the Real Chicago

For six nights only, poetry meets the stage meets Chicago in this theatrical exploration of urban life. Collaboratively written by members of the Poetry Performance Incubator, this ensemble piece offers a lyrical tour of the Chicago tourists never see.

According to the Guild’s Coya Paz:

“This is a collaboration between 10 spoken word poets, 7 of whom perform. The piece offers an insider’s look at Chicago culture(s), covering things like the difference between catcalling on the Northside and the Southside, how you can tell when a funeral procession is for a youth or an elder by the rims on the cars, what do do when your white friends want to go to a rib place waaaaaay down south, and why Time Out shouldn’t be the expert on culture in Pilsen. We tell real life stories about people pooping on trains, plotting murders on trains, and falling in love on trains. We passionately detail the reasons why Mexicans and Irish people should be in solidarity, especially when it comes to beer. We talk about toxic spills in Pilsen. We talk about why Rogers Park is for hippies. And so much more!” 

This reminds me of the “Ghetto Bus” that was in the News back in 2007.  The Bus took folks on a tour of inner city Chicago… the part of the city that tourists tend not to see.

Does anyone remember this?

From MSNBC.com July 22, 2007

CHICAGO — The yellow school bus rumbles through vacant lots and past demolished buildings, full of people who have paid $20 for a tour of what was once among the most dangerous areas of this or any other city in the United States.

But for the woman with the microphone, this “Ghetto Bus Tour” isn’t just another way to make a buck from tourists. It’s the last gasp in her crusade to tell a different story about Chicago’s notorious housing projects, something other than well-known tales about gang violence so fierce that residents slept in their bathtubs to avoid bullets.

“I want you to see what I see,” says Beauty Turner, after leading the group off the bus to a weedy lot where the Robert Taylor Homes once stood. “To hear the voices of the voiceless.”

click here for the rest of the article.


You’re Tuff Enough: junior wells’ new breed blues

  • The title cut off this 1968 album is a bluesy monster produced by Charles Stepney with more than enough groove to stay squarely in the pocket.  Also on this album is the local hit “Up in Heah”, another blues-infused party track.  Both of the records will make sceptics rethink the blues. According to the back of the album:

“Talk about somebody being “tuff” enough. One night in Pepper’s Lounge, a little night spot on Chicago’s South Side, Junior Wells was introduced as “the little Giant of the blues”. It was around midnight and the Chatter that had been incessant for about three hours ceased. In cool dignity the little black walked to the stage, and said: “I’m gonna sing them damn blues, and you’d better dig it.” This audience at Pepper’s where all the blues greats have passed through and left their mark, is as hip an audience as any performer ever faced. When you bring them slow blues it better be nasty, and when you swing it better make them move. Shoot blanks and you won’t last long. Junior Wells could stay there eternally. “

–David Llorens

 

 


Lyricist Loft: Kids Today Can Read… and Write.

Wednesday nights this Summer, an Open mic for Open minds:
hosted by dimi d. & Fatimah
DJ talent & DJ Such N Such
Bring your poems, songs, videos, chants, interpretive dancing…etc.
JUST COME and bring your Positive Energy
FEATURED POETS= Kuumba Lynx

Date:
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Time:
6:00pm – 8:00pm
Location:
400 South State

In the Blood: susan lori parks’ remix of “scarlet letter” in chicago

 “My life’s my own fault. I know that. But the world don’t help.” — Hester La Negrita

“In the Blood”, the “bold re-imagining of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s masterpiece, The Scarlet Letter, embraces the yearning for love, family, and the price of moral absolutes” according to the UIC Performing Arts website. 

The rework centers on Hester La Negrita, an illiterate mother of five. She lives on the streets of a tough city neighborhood with her five children: Jabber, Bully, Trouble, Beauty and Baby. Her eldest son is teaching her to read and write, but she’s progressed only to the letter “A.”

Hester’s children bring her life-affirming comic moments, but she is held back by the adults who dominate her life: her ex-boyfriend, best friend, social worker, doctor and minister. Ultimately, she faces the cost of moral absolutes and the will of the community, represented by an ensemble. 
 “Blood”  is presented this month by UIC’s Department of Performing Arts.  Directed by Robert O’Hara and features local soul star Yaw.

Opening April 9, 7:30 Also April 10, 15, 16, 17 at 7:30 April 11, 14, 18 at 2:15

on UIC’s campus: 1040 W. Harrison St. MC-255.  Tickets range from $11 (UIC Students) to $16 (general admission).

Box office + (312)996-2939
e-mail theatre@uic.edu


Under the Spell of Red and Brown Water

Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “In the Red and Brown Water,” now playing at Steppenwolf’s Upstairs Theater, is an exercise in duality that lends itself to complete immersion, an exercise in which you’re left like a used bag of orange pekoe (feeling purposefully spent).

Reality blends with chorus-driven fantasy, magic with carnality, and comedy with tragedy in this heartfelt display.  Oya, the lead character, is played hauntingly by Alana Arenas.  Ms. Arenas, who I caught lunch with after the show (she likes bruschetta), is a whisper-quiet left hook: a spirit to be reckoned with (in life and on the stage). 

Set in a Louisiana Housing Project, “Water” is a story of a Golden Girl, and how one decision (made at the cusp of womanhood) sends her down a pathway to a more tarnished reality.  Ms. Arenas imbibes an undeniable warmth as Ora, chasing the shadows of potential, of love, and of dashed dreams of creation.  Also stand out in the play were  Jacqueline Willams and Steppenwolf ensemble members K. Todd Freeman and Ora Jones.

Part of the Brother/Sister Trilogy of Plays (all playing in repertory at Steppenwolf), In the Red Brown Water plays until May 23rd.  for more info, visit steppenwolf.org. Jive on!


Stand With Haiti!!

 

Stand with Haiti!! An Evening of Food, Poets (including Lady Terror), Musicians, and Dancers Gathered to Support Those Devastated by the Earthquake in Haiti.  DJ Ayana on the tables.

Thursday, Jan. 21, 6:00pm – 8:45pm

Thorne Auditorium 357 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL

Free admission, donations requested.

Food/Drink: 6-7pm

Program: 7:15-8:45pm

ALL Proceeds will be donated to the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund

to support the relief effort in Haiti.


Tofu Chitlin Circuit presents: Black Thang

THE SYNOPSIS:

“Black Thang” by Ato Essandoh is the story of Sam, a black man, and Mattie, a white woman, and what happens when their relationship progresses from merely a one-night stand to something more…but not without some controversy.

Meanwhile, Keisha (Mattie’s best friend), struggles to hold onto her relationship with her long-time boyfriend Omar, and Jerome (Sam’s best friend), tries to “school” him on the ins-and-outs of interracial dating.

THE CREATIVE TEAM:

Come chat with the innovative and emerging director Sydney Chatman and The Tofu Chitlin’ Circuit as they explore location specific productions with a twist: adding technology to enhance the theatrical experience and to create interactive theater.

This is a MUST-SEE two-day event that’s sure to have you wanting more!

THE SPECIFICS:

WHEN: FRIDAY & SATURDAY, JANUARY 29 & 3O, 2010

WHERE: IVAN/CARLSON STUDIOS 2224 W. FULTON Chicago, IL
60612

TIME: RECEPTION 7:00 p.m. CURTAIN 7:30 p.m.

DONATION: until JANUARY 28TH-$15; DAY OF SHOW-$20

about the Tofu Chitlin Circuit: The Tofu Chitlin’ Circuit is a theater conservatory located in the Bronzeville district of Chicago that seeks to push the boundaries of staged productions through technology and the integration of a variety of media in their works.

UPDATE: This show has been postponed.  Stay tuned for forthcoming dates and times!


WORD: Across Generations

WORD: Across Generations Sunday, January 17 2:00pm – 3:30pm

Victory Gardens Biograph Theater 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago

 Join The Public Square and Chicago Public Radio for WORD: Across Generations with poets Carloyn Rodgers, John Murillo, and Aja Monet.

•Carolyn Rodgers (see poem below) emerged from the Black Arts Movement in Chicago in the 1960s as a “revolutionary poet,” creating a distinct and profound black aesthetic.

•John Murillo is an Afro-Chicano poet and playwright, a graduate of New York University’s MFA program, and a recent fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

•Aja Monet is a Cuban-Jamaican poet originally from Brooklyn, now residing in Chicago. At 22 years old, she is currently the youngest Grand Slam Champion of the Lower East side’s legendary Nuyorican Poet’s Café.

Each poet will perform their work and then participate in a post-performance conversation, followed by an Open Mic Showcase. This event is taking place as part of Chicago Public Radio Presents… The 2nd Annual Winter Block Party for Chicago’s Hip-Hop Arts.

 For more about this exciting day,visit chicagopublicradio.org.

“The Block Party is a tribute to the working artist of the hip-hop generation in Chicago and an opportunity for the city, traditionally segregated, to see each other across neighborhood and viaduct.” – Winter Block Party Artistic Director Kevin Coval.

It is Deep
(don’t never forget the bridge you crossed over on)
by Carolyn Rodgers [pictured above]

Having tried to use the
witch cord
that erases the stretch of
thirty-three blocks
and tuning in the voice which
woodenly stated that the
talk box was “disconnected”
My mother, religiously girdled in
her god, slipped on some love, and
laid on my bell like a truck,
blew through my door warm wind from the south
concern making her gruff and tight-lipped
and scared
that her “baby” was starving.
she, having learned, that disconnection results from
non-payment of bill (s).
She did not
recognize the poster of the
grand le-roi (al) cat on the wall
had never even seen the books of
Black poems that I have written
thinks that I am under the influence of
“communists”
when I talk about Black as anything
other than something ugly to kill it befo it grows
in any impression she would not be
considered “relevant” or “Black”
but
there she was, standing in my room
not loudly condemning that day and
not remembering that I grew hearing her
curse the factory where she “cut uh slave”
and the cheap j-boss wouldn’t allow a union,
not remembering that I heard the tears when
they told her a high school diploma was not enough,
and here now, not able to understand, what she had
been forced to deny, still–
she pushed into my kitchen so
she could open my refrigerator to see
what I had to eat, and pressed fifty
bills in my hand saying “pay the talk bill and buy
some food; you got folks who care about you . . .”
My mother, religious-negro, proud of
having waded through a storm, is very obviously,
a sturdy Black bridge that I
crossed over, on.


Light on the South Side Book Release

light-on-the-southsideblog

In the mid-’70s, photographer Michael Abramson set his viewfinder on the South Side of Chicago, specifically the many clubs and lounges that served as Hothouses of street fashion (among them, the legendary High Chaparral and the Showcase Lounge). They reflected where blues, soul and disco collided:  a dream of grit and gold lamé.  The resulting photos have been compiled into the book A Light on the South Side.

The Numero Group presents:
A Light On The South Side
Release party, Discussion, and Social
Sunday, November 1st 2pm – 6pm
Chicago Cultural Center
Discussion with Michael Abramson and Rick Kogan in the Claudia Cassidy Theater
Reception in the G.A.R. Rotunda

Following the talk there will be a book signing and reception where Intelligentsia Coffee will be serving a special Numero-inspired creation, the 24-Carat Blend, and the Numero staff will be playing South Side classics in the G.A.R. Rotunda.


AREA/Chicago Release Party… inside and outside Chicago

pigasus for president chicago 1968

(above, Pigasus [the pig candidate for President from the Yippie party] at a rally, Chicago 1968.  classic Windy City protest)

AREA/Chicago announces a publication release / art happening….

(AREA Chicago Art/Research/Education/Activism is a publication and event series dedicated to researching, supporting and networking local social, political and cultural movements.)

AREA #9 Release Party marks the release of AREA #9 Peripheral Vision: A Local Reader Inside and Outside Chicago…November 1, 2009 from 2:00pm till 5:00 pm.

The release party will be coinciding with the closing party for the exhibit/event series titled Demise of the South Side Community Art Center at the South Side Community Art Center, 3831 S. Michigan Ave. (CTA: Indiana stop on the Green Line)

So there will be lots of great things to see alongside two events which are scheduled:

3:00 Peripheral Feminism: Readings by contributors
and 4:00 Performance by Sebastian Alvarez

This issue’s contributions are by/about:

Notes for a People’s Atlas of Calumet, Claire Pentecost, disability activism, Paul Durica, deindustrialization, Stephanie Farmer, Sean Noonan, Compass Group, Hobofest, Jayne Hileman, Ishpeming, Anthony Rayson, Forgotten Chicago, Dinah Ramirez, James Lane, Crandon mine campaign, Sarah Kanouse, Nick Brown, suburban segregation, The Brownlands, Mairead Case, rural pilgrimage, Beth Gutelius, feminism, Dale Asis, Southeast Environmental Task Force, Sarah Kavage, the Burnham plan, Lorenza Perelli, Chicago Otra, Donna Kiser, Erin Moore, immigration detention, Mara Naselli, used bookstores, Sue Simensky Bietila, Mary Patten, donation diasporas, Joann Podkul, MAS, Brian Schultz, ecology, Joey Pizzolato, regional energy, Alex Yablon, Native American sites, Carrie Breitbach, HIV in minority communities, Quincy Saul, Gary, Bert Stabler, Great Lakes waterways, Charlie Vinz, teaching urban studies in the suburbs, teaching art on the south side, Larry Shure, Southworks, Laurie Jo Reynolds, Dan Wang, Nazis in Skokie, No Se Vende, Mike Wolf, Human Action Campaign Organization, Ashley Weger, demolition, Ryan Hollon, Andrew Greenlee, Gloria Ortiz, Steel Shavings, Paul Sargent, slumming, Laurie Palmer, neoliberal poetry, Michelle Lugalia, world systems, Steve Macek, distribution, Rebecca Zorach, Nicolas Lampert, sprawl, Daniel Tucker, Tamms, Carol Ng-He, STAND, Wade Tillett, Nicole Marroquin, CTA, anarchists in the suburbs, Sam Barnett, Chase Bracamontes, Sergei Chrucky, Generations for Peace, Matthias Regan, Just Farming Small Farmers Confederation, parking meter protests, radical memory.

RSVP here: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/event.php?eid=150798202534&ref=ts 

For more info, email areachicagointern@gmail.com

(below, the South Side Community Art Center. The Art Center, which was established as part of the Works Progress Administration’s [WPA] Federal Art Project, has been influential in the development of the city’s African-American artists. It is the only continuous survivor of the more than 100 centers established nationwide by the WPA during the 1930s and ’40s.)

ssarts1a